Monday, December 29, 2008

I miss you most, scarecrow!





It was so much fun seeing everyone. Glad Mike didn't need "patches" this year! I left for work at 7:30 this am; Barry & Cassie were drinking coffee and planning their trips home! That's it from Rising Sun!
Kar

Home Safe




Hi all. Thanks again to Mom for having Karen and I home. What a great trip, fun parties and nice to see everyone after so long. We got home safely after a brief delay in Phil. do to a "missing crew member." I wanted to start the Holmes chant when the missing pilot arrived, but nobody else in the terminal knew it.

We touched down about 12:05 a.m. and in bed by 2 a.m. Work 6 p.m. to midnight today, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and have a few photoshoots scheduled for sunset Tues.

Mom, Karen, thanks again for your hospitality and reminding us what Christmas is all about.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Patrick Football

Hi everyone...Here is a highlight video of Patrick's first game. They lost, but they played well and nobody got hurt too bad!!

Barry

video

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm at Miss GA!

I will be updating on my own blog all week as often as I can so check here for more info!

http://jackieau.prblogs.org/

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jackie, here's my link to Chris graduation photos:

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100318
I listened to the broadcast and thought it was great. Be sure and call those ladies back if you win Miss GA!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm a radio star! ...kind of :o)

It was great to see so many of you at Chris' graduation! I thought the blog would be filled with pictures from the weekend!

As many of you know, I'm the national spokesperson for the safe teen driving club. Last night I was interviewed by The Teen View Radio show. You can listen to it here http://www.contacttalkradio.com/hosts/archives/teenview.htm click on 6/9/08 and I come in the show around 15:40 .

Other than that I am just working really hard to get ready for Miss GA! Hope you're all doing well!

Thursday, May 22, 2008




After 6 or so years with my old Epson 2200, it finally died on me a few weeks ago. Defective print head. I just bought the Epson R1900 ($550.00) and love it. Lots of great reviews in the trade press. If anyone wants to get into printing out larger (Up to 13 x19) prints, I highly recommend!

See you all in Atlanta!

-Mike

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Swingfest 16





Hi all. I had a nice relaxing 4 days in Naples, Fla. last Thur-Sunday at my Swingfest Golf Tournament. I won $125.00 in a skins format on one of the days! I shot a par 4 on one of the holes, and with my handicap, I was given 2 strokes, so my net score for the hole was 2. Nobody had that score or lower in the field, so I won the "skin" for that hole.

My golf game was its usual self... had some great drives, putting was okay, but the mid irons, and chipping from close in was forgettable. It was just great to be away from Lago Mar for a few days, and think about other things other than who needs a drink! For a change, it was me!

The girls in the pics were the ones who help run the tournament for my friend Bill who put it together. Next year, were moving the tournament to Disney World which has some nice courses on the property.

-Mike

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Update From Mike





Hi gang, loved Jackie's performance... literally laughing with tears in my eyes! Don't know whether it was that funny ( I love Satire) or because she was just so damn good at singing/acting that song. I think that satire singing is her niche. Just like Taylor the Latte Boy song.

I'm off to Swingfest 16 in Naples Thur-Sunday. Our 16th year! My first break of no work for more than two days since September! Can't wait.

Just finished a photo book for a couple's 20th Wedding Anniversary who are frequent guests at Lago Mar but live in Maine.

Here's the link to see proofs of the book pages:

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100306

Also today, I completed a photo book of a tourist family to Lago Mar. I'll be showing this book to the owner to try and seek his permission to do these types of books for our guests at the Resort. He's already given me the "ok" to do it for the corporate groups that have meeting there.

Here's the link for "Beard Family" visit to Lago Mar:

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100270&bgcolor=black&view=grid

Karen took delivery on 2,500 postcards that I designed for her. Her theme is "The Queen of Clean has gone Green" with all natural cleaning products. Jes would be proud! We targeted wealthy neigborhoods here in Weston and purchased a mailing list with 2,100 names.

We sent out 400 yesterday, and she got a call today and booked a new weekly client starting next week. We'll probably send 400 per month for the next several months.

Anyhow, I posted a shot of the front and back of postcard. Click on it for a larger view.

Hey, the blog lives!

Facebook

Hi Folks,
A little more oxygen for the gasping blog. Jackie had her final musical performance of her college career last night. She had the crowd eating out of her hand with this song about Facebook.
Enjoy,
Barry


video

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hi Everybody,

Just to keep the blog alive, I'll tell you all about my exciting week.
Still have a lot of back pain but my narcotic pain pills help a lot. I manage to sleep 9 or 10 hrs. a day - I feel comfortable in bed and hate to get up.
I went to the dentist for teeth cleaning (exciting) - he told me I have 1 tooth in the back that has already had a root canal & cap - that it needs to have the cap removed and another one put on. Not sure I want to spent any more money on 1 tooth in the back.
Went to a meeting at church Tues nite - a group is going to the Holy Land next March - Dave and I want to go - sounds wonderful - hope I can make it. You go to all the places where Jesus walked and it is very safe.

Had a dexascan and Mammogram on Wed - no word as yet- not expecting anything new.
Saw the movie "The Year my Parents went on vacation" on Fri nite - it was one of the strangest movies I've seen yet!!
met 4 friends from the Reserve there and 6 of us went for dinner afterwards.
On Sat. nite, I took Eileen to OYRCC for dinner - we sat on the porch - it was Fri nite golf so saw all my old golfing buddies.
Church on Sun as usual and Mon. Eileen and I went to see "Mamma Baby" which was very good.

I'm taking the senior driver refresher course here at the reserve - 4 hrs. last nite and 4 hrs. tonite. You get a certificate which entitles you to a 5% discount on your car ins. for 3 yrs.

Today I had my car inspected and it came out with no problems - great news since it is 6 yrs. old in July.

So, inbetween, I sit and watch TV with my heating pad on my back and shop QVC.

How's that for an exciting week???? I guess pretty good for a 79 yr. old with a fractured vertebrae (:>)

Bye,
Mom

Sunday, April 20, 2008










After 9 years of owning black BMW's, Karen has leased a "Glacier Frost" color Lexus IS 250 today! 4-door, automatic, leather, 6 disc CD, 18-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, security, iPod compatible, 204 h.p., loaded package. She's sad to see her BMW go away tomorrow, but it was time to "scale down" to something slightly more affordable. If Karen's Cleaning continues to grow, she can go back to BMW when her new lease is up in 2011!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hi Everybody,

The past 2 weeks have been pretty rough for me. I slipped on some water and a bathroom rug - 2 weeks ago.

The first week I had 3 chiropractor treatments (just thought I needed an adjustment) The second week, I had cortisone injected in back -and got a stronger pain med. No help from the cortisone, but the stronger pain med helps a lot.

Yesterday, I had x-rays and apparently I fractured my Lumbar 2.
No treatment - other than a back brace and pain meds - it will take 6 weeks to 3 mos. to heal.
I'm hoping for 6 weeeks.

I can do everything that I have to do in this house, so I'm sleeping a lot and catching up on all the news and tv shows. I'm going to try a movie with a friend today??

My allergies went nuts and for a week I had lost my voice and was coughing constantly -OUCH!
My Internist ordered a "Zpack" and some good cough syrup - so I am finally over that.

Some good news for me - I have lost 6 lbs. - not drinking alcohol with these meds and not much appetite since I'm a couch potato. I keep ordering clothes on QVC - it's my satisfaction for now.

Other than all of above, - I'm great for 79!!

Love,
Mom

Saturday, April 5, 2008





Hi all...

Karen and I travelled to Orlando on Thursday to attend the tech expo at PhotoShop World. Instead of me spending $800.00 or more on taking all the classes over 3 days, hotel, meals, etc., I decided to put that money towards a good camera and just do a one day trip to visit the trade show. Nikon booth, Epson printers, Canon, etc. Karen went with me and we had a lot of fun, just getting out of town and our "routine" here in Weston.

Spring Break 08!

Today's the first day of my last high school Spring Break! My mom got the bright idea to be in charge of my friends and me, and we're headed off to the Caribbean on a cruise. We leave out of Ft. Lauderdale so maybe Uncle Mike can flash his lights as we pull out or something. I'm going to be a legal adult in just a few days! I turn 18 on Tuesday, the second day of the cruise! It's going to be so great! The day after my birthday we'll be in Cozumel and then Belize and then cruising back home till Friday. I'd say an acceptable way to ring in my adulthood! The Georgia Honor's Program waitlisted me, so I won't find out for another two months or so. Though I may miss first semester in the Honor's program, getting waitlisted gets you guaranteed to get accepted the next semester. So if I don't get in now, I'll get in at Christmas. I hope this helps relight the blog. -Chris

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Singing to Karen

Hi all... the Yee family took Karen and I out to dinner Sat nite to celebrate her big 40th birthday. Later we went to her house for cake.  

Karen Carag and I just had our first webcam conference.  She has a PC with a webcam, and I have a MAC with a built-in camera, and somehow it all worked.  Fun!  Anyone else with a camera want to have a video chat?  Let me know.

Off to work 4 p.m. to 12 midnight tonight and 12 noon to 9 p.m. Monday.

-Mike

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Weekend in Rising Sun















We had an interesting Easter weekend...Good Friday, we held Stations of the Cross in the hot tub...Saturday it was so cold, we lit up the fireplace! (for those of you who haven't seen Richard in a while..he's lost weight and still going!) Had our friends here to work in the winery, then we had a nice Prime Rib dinner here. Sunday we went to 8am Mass...I then drove Jon to the airport to go back to school..:<..then Jun, Mom and I went to Bulle Rocke for a buffet dinner..then back in the hot tub! Mother drank me under the table Friday night..I still am having a hard time even having a glass of wine! Back to work Monday, and Mom went home Tuuesday after her doctor's appointment.
Hope to hear from Mar about las Vegas!!!
Kar

Happy Birthday Karen!


Today my young beautiful wife turns the big 4-0! Yikes! Isn't that the year our dad bought mom a mink stole from Zinman Furs? No mink stole for my honey, Jess would have a fit!

Got her a beautiful iPhone from Apple! She likes to share photos with her family on her point and shoot camera so this has a bigger and higher resolution screen. She also will use the calendar to check cleaning appointments when on the road, she loves listening to iTunes which it includes, she'll have mobile hand held web access to check e-mail, news, weather, directions, etc., and oh yes, it's a phone too!

In other news, Walter Banks, owner of Lago Mar, has approved of my photo books to be offered to convention business at the hotel! Now, when someone contacts Lago Mar's sales office about possibly holding a meeting, banquet or convention there, part of the package they will receive is a flyer advertising my photo books. Also, they did not mark up my prices and want the prospect to contact 101photoservices.com directly, so I'll have complete control over the sale, if anyone is interested. Hopefully I can keep this going when (if) I leave.

The only downside is that all the billing would be separate from Lago Mar's "package" which may have made it more convenient for the business customer to just have them throw the books in as part of the total price. As you know, business people have to get purchase orders, approvals, etc. We'll see.

While I only expect maybe a trickle of business, it at least opens the door to me possibly doing this for the actual hotel tourist market as opposed to just the business market. Families are such a huge part of our business, and I think there would be more "action" with the books with that segment instead. I need to do a prototype book for the "Family Vacation" and get it in front of Mr. Banks. I have two pool photos in my book that he said he wants to pay me for, so that he can use them. I think I'll use them as "ransom" to start the family vacation book concept.

I'm on my 8th straight day of work, and have another 7 to go before I get a day off. We are short 2 bartenders at the busiest time of the year, so I'm "busting it" as mom would say. Next Thursday, Karen and I are going to Orlando for 1 day to visit the trade show at the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. Since I'm in the market for a high end digital camera, I want to visit directly with the Canon and Nikon reps, and maybe catch a "show special" price on a camera.

That's it from South Florida!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter all. Working 12 noon to 9:30 p.m. at pool bar. Working 7 days next week. Resort is mobbed with families, but weather not really cooperating Sat and Today. :-(.

-Mike

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have Jay & Char Foley at Lago Mar for Easter week. They are there with one of their kids (John?) and his wife and kids. Jay looks like a grandfather for sure! I guess I haven't seen him since the early 90's. I bought them a round of Pina Colada's today, and they want to buy me a drink and "catch up" one of these days this week. Yikes! Anyone have anything they want me to relay to them?

-Mike

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hi Everybody,
I had a fun St. Patty's Day. My friends - Clyde and Sue & I went up to the Clubhouse to play pool in the afternoon. We wore green sweaters and I had 2 giant green St. P. hats, so Sue and I wore them. Everybody that came by was crackin up. After that, I had them for drinks and corned beef, cabbage & boiled potatoes.
Sue had to leave to watch "Dancing with the Stars" - which she claims that she can't miss. Clyde and I went down 202 to the local pub. We thought all the young people would be finished celebrating from Fri, Sat & Sun --WRONG!! The place was mobbed - 5 deep at the bar and impossible to hear the music, so we came home.
Last nite we had our Singles dinner and today I played in the closing bridge match. We have pinochle tonite, but I begged off -- too tired.
I plan to go to Kar's for the holiday - not sure what day - weather here sounds like a storm with rain or snow.
Love,
Mom

Monday, March 17, 2008






Happy St. Patty's Day! That year went fast!
Cassie and the girls came to visit last night..we discovered Anna has diabetes, high blood sugars and all the symptoms. They came to visit us at the office today, then went straight to their hospital. Anna got admitted tonite..Cassie's with her..getting her regulated on Insulin.
Keep them in your prayers!
Jun, Jon and I went out with Barb and Bob tonite to an Italian restaurant, for green beer, corned beef, etc...
Cheers!
Love,
Kar
Happy Anniversary Uncle Mike and Karen!!!!

Just sitting here thinking about how much fun I had this time last year. What a fantastic day. I miss everyone!!! Happy St. Patty's Day! I'm anxiously awaiting my school teacher friend to get off work so we can go get some green beer! (I'm home on Spring Break) Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St. Patrick's Day


Hi Everyone:

St. Patty's Day isn't till Monday, but Karen and I have been reliving the entire weekend last year: the entire family in South Florida, the wedding, the St. Pat's Party at our house that we missed, canceling the 40 tons of corn beef and cabbage, me golfing with Jon, our days at Lago Mar after the wedding etc. It really was a special weekend for us both, and I'm so glad we took so many photos and video!

Tomorrow I have my only day off for the 1 year anniversary and St. Pats celebration. We plan to do 8 a.m. mass at our church, go to breakfast at the Pelican on the ocean, go down to the Riverwalk area and visit "our brick" go out on an Intracoastal Cruise, and then get into our Irish digs and hit a few pubs.

I uploaded some St. Pats photos from your visit last year at the following link:

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100223

Love,
Mike

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hi Everybody,

I arrived safely home last nite about 5:20 pm - no problem with getting on Delta planes.

Had a great time - the ship -"Vodendam" (Holland American) was completely renovated recently and it was really beautiful - all over.

Our room was much bigger than last time - Tom and I had seperating beds and Olivia had the couch/bed by the bathroom.

The food was very good -- lots of good deserts. The entertainment - house singers and dancers - not too good, bu t, they had 2 comics, 1 magician and a piano player that were excellent.
We went to happy hr. every nite in the "Ocean Lounge" - where they had a wonderful Filipino quartet - that played our kind of music.

We stopped at Aruba, Coricial, Panama city and Canal and Costa Rica - I only got off at Curicial(sp?) - Tom & Olivia don't get off at all.

Lots to do - lectures on Panama City, bingo, movies, bridge (I played every afternoon that we were at sea with 3 other men). O &T went to mass every day - I slept in - except Sun.

No problems with O. - she pushed a cart to help her walk, so she woundn't fall again. Sara & Joe had a baby (girl) the middle of the week - named Fiona Olivia.

Weather was perfect the whole trip - ship is too cold inside - always need a jacket or sweater.

Talked to most of you - happy that everyone at home was ok.

Had a nice visit with Karen and Michael - preceded by a visit to Atlanta to see Jackie in her Cabaret show - which was great - she gets better singing and more beautiful every time I see her. Also, spent a day on the beach with Dan & Karen - while Mike was bar-tending. - Later, Dan treated us all to dinner.

Had a nice visit with O'Bie & Mike while I was visiting in Atlanta.

I slept 9 hrs. last nite and have been unpacking and washing all day.

My carbon monoxide monitor was chirping when I came home - Clyde came down today and put a new battery in it - before it drove me nuts.

Guess that's about it - back to life at the Reserve - I see 2 new condos going up - guess they are selling. We have a comedy show here tomorrow and some of the singles are going out to dinner - so, I guess I'll join them.

Love to all,

Mom

?

Has the blog died?!

Saturday, March 8, 2008




Hi Bloggers:

A cool, cloudy, windy morning in So. Fla. and I'm in my home office doing some work. Karen and I went out to dinner last night with Dulcie and three guests at Lago Mar, Ed, Keri and Tom. Dan and Mom have met them as they sponsored their day at Lago Mar last weekend. They treated us to dinner at a great Italian place called Anthony's Runway 84. It's an older place set up like you're in an airport/airplane, but the food was delicious. Veal on bone parm for me and shrimp pasta a la vodka for Karen. Sat down at 7:45 p.m. and got up at 11:15 p.m.!! Loonnng dinner.

Jackie and Devin were going to come down last night and go dress shopping in Wellington (about an hour from here) but the shooting tragedy at her college cancelled those plans. Jackie says she may make in down next week for spring break.

Karen's at her busiest period ever with Karen's Cleaning. She had 10 cleanings between Monday and Friday, and 9 already scheduled for next week, and there was a call on the machine last night from a new prospect. Our next mailing is going to be postcards to 500 or so, instead of letters on stationary at full postage to 250. Also, I need to print her up referral cards that offer a one time 50% off cleaning for any current customer who recommends a new client, and a one-time 50% off to that new client as well. Referrals is the name of the game in this biz. Apparently, women like to talk about their cleaning person with each other. True?

I worked on my photo book concept all day yesterday. I now have 3 different style books to offer hotels for their meeting groups.

1. Full-size 8 1/2 by 11 inch hardcover book with suede-like cover, foil imprinting, and custom dust jacket. The book has postcard perfect like pictures of the resort throughout the book, and pictures from a particular group's meeting or banquet intermixed on the same pages.

2. A soft-cover 6 by 8 inch book that features the group's logo and great resort photos on the front cover, meeting dates, etc.,
and page two features just one big shot of the entire group. The balance of the book has just the great stock photos of the resort. The fact that it's softcover with very little customization throughtout the book cuts the product cost about 66% versus the customized hardcover.

3. Same as #2, but only 3.5 by 3 inches in size. Cute and a nice handout cheaply to all attendees as a "thanks for coming."

If you hadn't heard, Lago Mar liked my #1 hardcover above, but "too expensive" for their clients, so they wanted to see some cheaper products with new pricing. The new books should be shipped to me by late next week. Once I have them with associated pricing, I plan to show the product to at least 10 other resorts and gauge reaction.

That's it from So. Fla. Off to work 3 pm today, and Karen and her mom off to her girlfriend Claudia's wedding.

-Mike

Friday, March 7, 2008

Deadsville in Rising Sun

Hey Bloggers!
Long week...Last night Jun and I went to my awards dinner at our Hospital..I got my 25 year award for being employed by them! It was a real fancy dinner for about 300 employees and their guests..set up like as if we were going to the academy awards...we walked down the red carpet when we arrived..pretty women approached us with microphones (fake ones), interviewing us..cameras were flashing...Hollywood signs were everywhere...anyhow, I got presented with a rose when my name was called..a gift will be delivered to my office..not sure what that will be..anyhow, great happy hour, dinner, etc...
I've be doing a lot of transcription this week at work..amazing how fast I type with 2 fingers! I'm working overtime tomorrow.
It's cold, rainy, possibly snow tomorrow.....glad Mom is on a cruise!
I had a decorator come here tonite....we are going to turn the game room around to face the fire place again..getting possibly new couch, paint, paper, etc....
That's it from here..
Morgan says woof woof to you all.....
Jon comes home next Thursday....Jess is staying in hawaii for break....
Bye!
Kar

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

chris is a drama queen

hey uncle mike please add my blog to the blogroll!

http://jackieau.prblogs.org

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hi all... Karen, Dan and Mom spent the day on Lago Mar beach yesterday. Sunny and 80... perfect beach weather. We all went to dinner on the Intracoastal at Coconuts about 7 p.m. Home by 10 p.m. and right to bed for Mom. Karen takes her to the cruise port today, and I am off to work. Dan may come over to Lago today with a friend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fighting for another day

I've certainly had a rough couple days. I have strep throat, an ear infection, and possibly the flu too. Been sick since Wednesday night and still don't seem to be getting better. Temperature of 102-103 for two days now while on tylenol/advil. I've lost 10 pounds and, obviously, I don't have 10 pounds to give! My parents have abandoned me, my Mom going out of town with Jackie and my dad at work. Thank God for brothers; he seems to be more dependable than my own mother!!

It turns out I didn't get the Holmes's Hemochromatosis disease! I got the genetic test done after my iron looked a little too high and it showed I was only a carrier. That means my mom wasn't a carrier at all and saved me from the Holmes genes!

My tennis teams off to a rough start. We lost our first couple matches closely to good teams. We finally played an average team Thursday and won, but I wasn't able to play because I'm sick! Figures!

School's a breeze right now. I have a 4.8 GPA and would have a 5.0 if I could get motivated to do my AP Calc homework, but it's just too easy not too care when you're already in college and it doesn't matter what your grades are!

I got in to Virginia Tech a couple days ago and got invited to the honor's program, but turned it down for UGA. It was just way more expensive to go out of state and UGA's now a better school anyhow. Therefore, the only benefit would be getting further away from home since they don't seem to care about me anyway!

Alright, I need to get back to the couch. I'm getting all caught up on the last 10 years of soap operas and court tv!

-Miserable, unloved Chris

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More Deck Party Photos

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100200

Cruise Deck Party



Here's some video of our deck party last Sunday watching 9 cruise ships sail out of Port Everglades. No we didn't blink lights, blast air horns, or wave flags. We just drank vodka, ate hor deourves and laughed.

Monday, February 25, 2008

HI everybody,

I just heard from Tom - I'm on the cruise!!!Yea!! We leave out of t. Lauderdale 5 pm Sun. nite.

He did add "there's 1 glitch - Olivia had some bladder bleeding this a.m. - hopefully, it doesn't amt to anything, because if so we have to cancel" RATS - if we cancel, I'll still go to Barry's Wed & Thurs and on to Michael's on Fri - Dan comes in on Sat. and he said to stick around and visit with him till Mon. Nothing like living on the edge!! We come back Mar 12 and I'll wing it with Delta.

Waiting for Bar to let me know if I'm flying Tues or Wed to Atlanta - but for now, I gotta go pack.
Tom said it's more expensive than last time and much nicer ship - Holland American "Volandam" - I'd rather pay more and really enjoy the ship. Not sure of all the ports - I know 4 days at sea - then Aruba, curisal , Panama city, Limon (wherever that is) and a few other places.

Mom

Sunday, February 24, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PATCH AND STEPH!!!

Hope you had a great day Steph! Seems like not long ago I was calling you my little peaches :o) haha

Patrick, Mom and Chris got here to Auburn around 11 this morning. They met me at my house and then I took them downtown to Toomers Drug store for their world famous lemonade. Then we went to the basketball game against University of Alabama. As soon as that was over we went right next door to the baseball game where Kurt met us, Patch was pretty excited to see him. Patrick was pretty happy spending his birthday watching Auburn sports! For dinner we went to his favorite restaurant and then came back to my house. I had the whole house decorated and I made him an oreo pie so we all sang happy birthday.

We had a fabulous day and I hope Steph has just as much fun!!! I'll put pictures up later this week!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hot Wheels!



Hello, not much to report down here... just the normal routine... Gerdie has gone back to her owner for a while, and both Karen and I are busy working. Was sorting through some photos and found this blast from the past. Bob Foard brought his Triumph TR-7 to Moorestown for me to buy. I fell in love instantly... think I ended up paying $1,700.00 for it and fell behind on the loan payments only after a few months, and the faulty head on the engine finally blew. Dad had to bail me out and I sold it for $1,300.00. No wonder I'm not really a "car guy."

My 1999 Toyota Camry drives like a dream, and it's been paid for since 2005. Has 117,00 miles, and I hope to take it over 200,000. Karen on the other hand is a "car girl" and needs to have the flashy wheels. Her BMW lease is up in March so she needs to "scale down." Dan told her she should buy the car outright, and then turn around and sell it for a couple thousand profit. We're looking at all options. That tiny "Smart Car" she test drove is cute, but she wouldn't feel safe in it driving at 70 mpg.

I'm off on Sunday. We were invited by a couple at Lago Mar Club, Dan and Cynthia Niles, to go to their condo for cocktails at 3 p.m. and watch the parade of 10 Cruise Ships sail out of Port Everglades. Remember those condos that blare the air horns and blink the lights when we went out on the Millenium Cruise? That will be us on Sunday!

Off to work 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

-Mike

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hola, Amigos!! We're back!











Hey Bloggers,




We got home this evening, safe and sound. I have to say, that was one of the nicest resorts we have ever been to. All inclusive, couldn't ask for better service, drinks were great, as was the food...best weather every day....it was perfect!




Glad things are Ok at home, sounds like we are in for bad weather tomorrow!




Mom, hope you get to do the cruise...Dan, have fun, Barry, nevermind.....Mike, funny Valentine story.....Jackie, great update!




Kar

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hi everyone,

Got the MRI of my knee and back -- nothing much -- mostly arthritis. Have been going to P.T. for 1 month now - back is no longer feeling strained - just usual low back pain. Haven't talked to knee dr., but from MRI report - I know a knee replacement is not nec. - don't know if anything can be done thru arthroscopy yet -or I just live with my pain.

Anyway, since I see no surgery in site, I called Tom and Olivia to see if I could join them on their Carribean cruise - Mar 2 - 12.(
they had already invited me) The ship is Holland Am. - it is completely booked. T & O are being upgraded to 4 levels (Tom wrote a letter re Olivia's care getting off the ship when she had her emergency ayr. ago). Travel agent said they have not assigned rooms - usually do that the week before - and if their room can accomodate 3 - then, they can put me on. I'm hanging loose till next week - hoping to go -- most of my friends are away and it's cold here.

I had planned to go to Jackie's cabaret show in Roswell - next Wed. If I get on the cruise, I will go there with cruise suitcase - stay at Bar's till Fri and then go to Michaels (surprise, surprise)- to hang out till Sun when I get on the cruise ship. That way, I don't have to worry about my "standby" chances Dan will be there (Ft Lauderdale) the same weekend.

Cancelled my app with knee Dr. in Maryland, so I can go to Steph's birthday dinner on Sun.

If I hear that I am on -- I'll call you Barry & Mike.


I've seen all the top movies -- There will be blood, Atonement, Juno, No country for old men, The debators, Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, and Michael Clayton. So when I watch the awards on Sun - I'll have some opinions.

Love,

Mom

Love, Mom

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hey hey from Alabama!

Hi everyone!
Not a whole lot new going on right now, just busy as ever! Two weekends ago I was up in Rome and did a fundraiser for Children's Miracle Network. I hosted a tea with about ten girls from the Rome area and presented a program based on the four points of the crown: scholarship, service, style, and success. Raised $250!!! Then the following day I spoke about teenage driving to 200 8th graders at one of the local middle schools....TOUGH CROWD! Definately the one of the hardest speaking audiences I've ever experienced. It was so hard to keep them interested and not sound like I was preaching. Dad went and said I did a very good job with what I had. I was praying beforehand and told myself that as long as I walked away with just one person remembering to be safe or wear their seatbelt than the pain of standing in front of middle schoolers and driving all that way was completely worth it. I truly believe God is calling me to spread my message and I know I will get better with each time I speak.

Yesterday (Sunday) I went to the Governor's mansion for my job (The Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative www.alabamamarriage.org ). February is Alabama Marriage Month and the Governor and his wife hosted a celebration at his house. All couples in the state who have been married 25+ years were invited and so were the winners of an 8th grade essay contest. The students were asked to write about the best marriage they know of and the winning essays can be read at the website above. Pretty great stuff!

This upcoming weekend I am heading to the University of Alabama for the Southeastern Conference swimming/diving championships. Hopefully Auburn will walk away with the title for the 12th year in a row!!!!

Thats about all I've got for now. I have to write in a blog once a week for my style and design class so feel free to check it out! Its just some ranting and raving that I usually write an hour before its due, lol. www.jackieau.prblogs.org

Love you all and have a great week!

My Cruise

Hey Guys,

I leave this Friday for my Caribbean cruise on Holland America. If you need to make and emergency call, here is how to do it.

866-425-7447
listen to announcement
select Zuiderdam
cabin 7003

I will visit with Mike and Karen when I get back March 1,2,3. Have a great week. Welcome home Karen Carag. How was Cancun?

Dan

Donna Summer Concert



Karen and I went to see Donna Summer last night. Here's a quick snippet from the concert. The show was just "ok" but we were glad to say we saw her. The voice sounds pretty good, but she's the size of a house and constantly kept telling the audience how much she "needs us and loves everyone of us." A little over the top. Kind of like... "you're all I have left in my once booming career, don't leave!."

Working today 11 a.m. to 8 .m. Karen did a new mailer of 200 letters and already has 2 calls. One scheduled immediately for weekly service, which is great. Big home close by.

Miami Boat Show and Coconut Grove Arts Festival were in town this weekend. Supposed to get to sweater weather the next few days.... brrrrr.... hate those 65 degree days.

-Mike

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Valentine's Day


Hi, a quick picture from Valentine's Day. Karen and I went to Pelican Beach Resort (our honeymoon spot) for drinks and appetizers on the ocean. Karen had a dental mishap... one of her two front teeth cracked and fell completely off in her nachos. How's that for Valentine's Day romance? She looked like the farmer's daughter from West Virginia, but laughed it off, figuring we wouldn't see anyone we knew. With that in walked a couple who belong to Lago Mar and I had to introduce Karen and "explain" the mishap. They ended up hiring her for her cleaning biz, so the embarrassment paid off. Anyhow, she's been to the dentist and all is well now.

We still have the dog, and everything okay there too. Tomorrow night we go see Donna Summer in concert. Should be fun. What's everyone else doing for President's Day Weekend. You'll have to help me out with the blog this week as my co-writer is in Cancun.

-Mike

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a Walk in the Park



Here's a quick movie of Karen with Gerdie in Gator Run Park, just outside our Hammocks neighborhood.

Still photos are at:

http://gallery.mac.com/ballinh20#100184&view=mosaic&sel=0

Bad Gerdie

We had a rough first night with Gerdie, but I think she's settled now. Crying, barking, pawing and just about every bodily function known to a dog was on display, including a hairball vomit session at 2 a.m. Might have been the little mini dead frog she found behind the planter... don't know if she swallowed it or what. Karen and I barely slept, but amazingly, when we did the one thing that would make her go crazy, locked her in her padded cage about 3 a.m., she cried initially but then we never heard a peep out of her again.

To make matters worse, we're having bad rain and thunderstorms outside, so when I got up at 7 a.m. to take the dog for a walk, it was pouring rain and she wanted nothing to do with that, but there was no way I was going to leave her in the house "on a full tank." I finally braved the rain in the backyard with her and she did her business.

I feel like I've been up all night with a crying baby. I'm exhausted! LOL To Gerdie's credit, she loves attention, is very playful, and when I really get serious at the computer, she lays patiently on the floor playing with a stuffed animal...oh wait, that's Karen's good satin couch pillow from Nordsdrom! Whatever!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meet "Gerdie!"




Introducing "Gerdie," a 9-month old female miniature Schnauzer who will be living with us for 3 weeks. Gerdie's real parents are Ken and Susan Landon from the club. They have a very busy next few weeks getting ready for a son's wedding, so Gerdie needed to go away for a while. Tonight's her first night, and she's "wild" in the house, but starting to settle now that it's close to her bedtime. Following around Karen and leaving me alone. Perfect! :-)

Don't forget to vote on Gerdy. Look to the right.

Our impatients are blooming at the Holmes residence in Weston!

Biz Update Part II

I met with Walter Banks, the owner of Lago Mar, for about 5 minutes yesterday regarding the prototype customized Lago Mar photo book concept I created. (See blog post below.) He seemed to like it and asked if he could hold onto it for a while. Also said he's had photo books prepared for him before on a personal level, and actually had considered using them in a business application, but procrastinated and never really had the person to do it. Maybe I had nice timing to drop this in his lap, all thought out and completed. I'll keep you "posted" if anything happens. I feel great that I left the meeting with him asking to keep the book... it's such an easier sell to the G.M. and Group Sales Director if he shows the book to them and not me!

Also, Karen has been asked by one of the members at Lago Mar to watch their dog for the next 3 weeks... at our house. This is the same one she was going to watch for a week back in the Fall, but plans fell apart when they cancelled their cruise. Anyhow, "Gerdy" is, I think a little Schnauzer or Terrier, and very small and "low maintenance" according to them. We'll see, but Karen agreed to $20 per day for the next 21 days, so she's happy for the extra income. We'll send a photo. I think we take delivery today!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Big Bird!


Jekyll Island 2008















Hello fellow bloggers!



This past week, my school had a field trip down to Jekyll Island which is just south of St. Simons on the coast of Georgia. I had a blast!



We learned all about how beaches are formed and animals that live in that area. I got to hold a snake, eat a live shrimp (it was a small one so you couldn't really taste it!), and hold a baby alligator.



We left the school at 5:30 AM (yes there really is a 5:30 AM) on Monday and arrived at about noon. It was dorm style rooming with bunk beds that weren't exactly what I would call comfortable! We stayed until Wednesday afternoon. Hope to see you all soon!